Euthanasia: What To Know Now – Even if Your Pet is Healthy

The decision to euthanize a pet is hard; however, knowing available options can prevent further distress on both you and your pet. Talk to your primary care veterinarian – knowing your pet health status, disease process, and/or aging patterns enables them to offer a professional medical opinion on the quality of your pet’s life.

Although many illnesses or emergent conditions are treatable, the decision to euthanize may be required when a condition cannot be treated successfully. Accidents happen – sometimes creating life-threatening situations. Leaving your wishes in writing with a pet sitter or daycare provider ensures they are respected in case of an emergent situation.

We strive to make the euthanasia process as stress free as possible. We do provide comfortable blankets; however, you can bring your pet’s bedding with you. We will review our Euthanasia and Aftercare Consent Form with you and address any questions you may have. If you choose to not be present during the euthanasia, that is OK – our staff will provide your pet with compassion and comfort.

When possible, we will offer a sedative injection before the IV catheter is placed. In some circumstances (i.e., a pet in critical condition), this may be avoided for humane reasons as a sedative does require time to take effect.

Process: This process applies to adult dogs/cats and may vary with other species or for puppies/kittens (although the same euthanasia solution is used). We conduct a two-injection method of euthanasia via an intravenous (IV) catheter.

The first IV injection will relax the muscles. Immediately after, the second injection is administered which stops the breathing and heart very quickly. We will check your pet’s heart to confirm that they have passed. After passing, the eyes remain open and some involuntary muscle activity may occur. Following euthanasia, you may choose to spend some time alone with your pet.

In very rare circumstances, we may have to resort to an intra-cardiac injection, which is done through the chest wall. If so, we may suggest you do not stay for this painless, but more visually disturbing injection. This method is necessary to avoid suffering in severely compromised medical conditions and is chosen with your pet’s comfort in mind.

Aftercare: If your municipal by-laws allow, you may bury your pet at home. After passing, bowel and/or urine movement may occur, so we will offer to wrap the bottom half of your pet in a plastic bag. We also offer zippered, leak-resistant bags.

You may choose a cremation service, with the ashes not returned or returned in a variety of ways. We can provide further information on cremation options and prices.

If you are undecided, you are responsible to inform us of your option within 72 hours.

Paw Prints: We offer paw prints regardless of what aftercare option you select.

Autopsy: In some instances, knowing the cause of death (i.e., congenital or hereditary problem), may ease your loss and relieve uncertainty. Choosing an autopsy will affect your aftercare options. If you have further questions, please talk to your primary care veterinarian or contact us.

To be familiar with our expectations and processes, we encourage clients to read our Terms and Conditions and Client Preparation Guide.